Board passes resolution to send to lawmakers

Leslie Silverman

The Hill City School District Board of Education  approved a resolution to send to state legislators regarding capital outlay funding at its most recent meeting.

The South Dakota legislature passed a law that changes capital outlay funding from a mil levy and a maximum taxation of $3 per thousand to a maximum of $2,800. This could cost the Hill City School District $300,000 in lost revenue.

The new law affects many other districts, and the board resolution is meant to show “solidarity” on the issue.

“We disagree with the current funding for capital outlay which puts a $2,800 per student (cap) for capital outlay whereas before it was up to a mil levy of $3 per thousand,” said Dennis Krull, president of the Hill City School Board. “It’s going to hurt over 70 school districts in the state. It’s going to have a negative effect on Hill City approximately to the tune of $300,000.”

Krull explained that at a recent summit with legislators in Custer he learned that “legislators listen more to the locals and to the boards that are elected. One of the things that does make a difference is a resolution. Basically what it is, is our stance on what we think is happening. We’re going to lobby the other 70 to 150 school districts to also pass this resolution or something like that. If everybody just says we don’t like it that’s not really saying anything.”

This ordinance “gives teeth” to the board’s stance. 

The board voted to extend a special education teaching contract to Eric Reynolds. The contract would be a non-renewed half-year contract at a salary of $24,464. Hill City School District superintendent Blake Gardner explained Reynold’s qualifications.

“He’s got two masters degrees he’s got quite a bit of experience in education,” Gardner said.

The fence for Ranger Field is complete.

“It turned out really nice. It took forever,” said maintenance director Jeff Anderson. 

Discussion about the schools heating and cooling system also took place as the board noted numerous service calls.

“It’s almost 20 years old,” Anderson said.” We have a lot of valves.”

A family friendly walkthrough at the elementary school focused on four areas — physical environment, school wide practices, learning connections and written materials and technology.

Elementary school principal Samantha Weaver told the board, “Some of the things that the team found that we do well is breakfast in the classroom. Our school is clean and inviting. We have an onsite interpreter for our ESL (English as a second language) students for our family nights. Some of the things we could have worked on are more signage in the building and sessions for parents” on technology.

The superintendent report acknowledged the work of Deputy Isakson, the district’s school resource officer (SRO).

“A year and a half ago we didn’t have an SRO,” Gardner said. “We’re lucky. We’re happy to have deputy Isakson and all the things he bring from an ALICE standpoint.”

Isakson said, “in general the student body is doing a very good job.” He attended freshman impact coordinator training.

Gardner also reported on his involvement in the Heart of the Hills Economic Development retreat.

“About once a month I go and report on the school in general,” Gardner said. “They had a strategic planning meeting. I’m thankful they allowed the school to have a voice in what they’re doing.”

Gardner also reiterated an earlier discussion Krull brought up about a recent webinar the two attended.

Gardner reported on the dates for the science fair, which will be held March 12-13. Registration is Feb. 26. 

High school and middle school principal Todd Satter touted the savings for families who have students enrolled in the dual credit program. A total of $97,000 in tuition and $13,000 in textbooks were saved in 2019-20 school year.

“Last semester with had 35 students in 51 classes,” Satter said. “We have 39 students in 54 classes this semester. Our students are benefiting hugely from this. Our participation is through the roof...It’s a part of our culture.”

The dual enrollment classes at Western Dakota Tech were also the subjects of the “good things” portion of the meeting.

“Hill City was the highlight of their dual enrollment meeting,” said Gardner. “Even though we’re the smallest enrollment school we actually have the greatest participation.”

Middle school students completed the Northwest Evaluation Agency test. Early on, the results look good. An eight-hour class for those falling behind in math is helping students reach grade level proficiency in math.

Satter reported that ending the semester prior to Christmas break was beneficial to students and teachers. 

The special education report shows 63 students are receiving services in the district.

A decade old exercise bike was approved for surplus. The bike has been outside and has a screen that does not work well. Three Pennington County residents will value the bike to determine how the bid process will proceed,

Facility use agreements for both the all-school reunion on Sep. 19-20 and Harmony in the Hills Aug. 22 were approved.

Graduate credit hours for teacher Joe Noyes and masters degree credit for teacher Rick Hamilton were approved.

The board approved Policy B of the board review policy outlined policies for board retreats, executive sessions and school attorneys. The board took no action on a policy regarding public input at school board meetings.


The next board meeting takes place Feb.10 at 6 p.m.

User login